Balanced diet! We hear about this a lot but most of us don’t even clearly know what it means. We all know that balanced diet involves food.

Food is a necessity for all living organisms. It is a known fact that food is the fuel that helps the body grow, function, maintain and repair itself.

In simple words, food is the source of energy for the body.

In this article, let’s find about the mode of nutrition, what exactly is a balanced diet and the components of a balanced diet.

Modes of Nutrition:

heterotrophs and autotrophs

Before we move on to balanced diet and its components, let us take a look at the modes of nutrition. The modes of nutrition are broadly classified into two groups. They are

  • Autotrophs
  • Heterotrophs

The Autotrophs

The autotrophs are the organisms that feed themselves i.e., they produce their food.

The word autotroph is a Greek term and was coined by Albert Bernhard Frank, a German botanist in 1892.

Examples of autotrophs are plants, algae, etc.

These autotrophs are again divided into two groups which are

Photoautotrophs – They use sunlight to produce food. Apart from the sunlight, they use water, carbon dioxide, and inorganic ions to produce food.

Chemoautotrophs – They use certain chemical reactions involving inorganic substrates. They are also known as chemosynthetic organisms.

The Heterotrophs

Heterotrophs are the organisms that don’t produce their food and hence are dependent on plants, algae, etc. for food.

The word heterotroph is a Greek term (heteros meaning other and trophe meaning nutrition).

The term heterotroph was first used in 1946 in microbiology to classify microorganisms based on their type of nutrition.

An example of this group includes animals.

Heterotrophs have to eat or ingest the food, then digest, absorb, assimilate and then finally egest the undigested food.

There are three types of heterotrophic nutrition which are:

1. Saprotrophic nutrition – Organisms that absorb food material from decayed organic matter or decaying organic matter.

Examples include various types of fungi and bacteria.

Some of the saprotrophs look like plants but they can’t produce their food.

2. Holozoic nutrition – In this type of nutrition, the organism consumes solid food and the solid food is broken down within the organism and then transported to all the cells of the body.

Examples include humans, mammals, amoeba, etc.

It is this type of heterotrophic nutrition which is further divided into three types.

  • Herbivores – The organisms which consume only plants.
  • Carnivores – The organisms which consume only meat or other animals.
  • Omnivores – The organisms which consume both plants and animals.

3. Parasitic nutrition – It is a type of nutrition where one organism (parasite) depends on the other organism (host) for nutrition.

The parasite benefits from the nutrition that it gets from the host but the parasite ends up harming the host.

Examples of parasites are mosquitoes, ticks, bed bugs, tapeworms, some angiosperms, etc.

Balanced Diet

Now that we know what are the different modes of nutrition and in which category we belong to, it is important to know the meaning of a balanced diet and its importance.

It is a diet consisting of various types of food which provides adequate amounts of nutrients important for good health.

A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers.

Ideal diet differs from person to person based on their age, sex, activity, size of the body, etc.

Basic 7 is one of the many systems which are used to assume a balanced diet.

Basic 7 was worked out in WWII. There are seven groups and from each group, one food is to be selected for daily consumption.

  • Group 1 – Green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables.
  • Group 2 – Raw cabbage, tomatoes, citrus fruits.
  • Group 3 – Vegetables and fruits (one must pick two foods from this group).
  • Group 4 – Milk and its products.
  • Group 5 – Meat, fish, egg, poultry, and nuts.
  • Group 6 – Bread, flour, and cereals.
  • Group 7 – Butter, oils, and fortified margarine.

Calorific Requirement

Before we jump into the details of the balanced diet components of a balanced diet, we will talk a little about the calorific requirement.

A lot of scientific research is going on to understand the needs of human nutrition in detail.

It is now clear that the requirement of food and calorie intake is dependent on many factors like age, sex, physical work, climate, pregnancy, body size, weight, occupation, etc.

In general, the calorific consumption should not be any less than 2200 kilocalories a day and not more than 3000 kilocalories a day.

According to the report of FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) published in 1957, a 25-year old man of 65 kilograms of weight must consume 3200-kilo calories a day.

A woman of the same age weighing 55 kilograms must consume 2300 kilocalories a day.

Children must consume more because energy is needed for growth and development (both mental and physical).

Various activities require different amounts of calories.

For example, sleeping requires 60-kilocalories an hour, standing requires 150-kilocalories an hour, brisk walking requires 180-kilocalories per hour and swimming requires 270-kilocalories an hour.

Components of Balanced Diet

As mentioned above, there are six components of a balanced diet. They are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, minerals, and vitamins.

components

Balanced Diet Component: Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

The carbohydrates are more or less derived from carbon dioxide and water during photosynthesis.

They are classified as monosaccharides (glucose, fructose), disaccharides (lactose, sucrose), and polysaccharides (starch, cellulose).

Examples of carbohydrates are starch, sugar, cellulose, etc.

Balanced Diet Component: Proteins

The word ‘Protein’ is derived from the Greek term “proteios” meaning “of the first rank”.

The name is given because proteins are present at the central position in the functional and structural characteristics of living beings.

Proteins are made up of polymers of amino acids.

Polymers containing up to 2,3, 4, …,100 amino acids are called peptides or polypeptides.

Polymers having 10,000 or more amino acids are called proteins.

They are generally classified as simple proteins (albumins, globulins) and conjugated proteins (glycoproteins, nucleoproteins, mucoproteins).

Upon hydrolysis (chemical breaking down of a compound due to water’s reaction) simple proteins get isolated into amino acids whereas, upon hydrolysis, conjugated proteins get isolated into amino acids and amino acid components.

Balanced Diet Component: Fats

Fats are made up of triglycerides and the triglycerides are again made up of three individual fatty acids connected to another molecule called glycerol.

Some fatty acids are important for the body but are not synthesized in our body.

Such fatty acids that are important for the body are called essential fatty acids.

Balanced Diet Component: Water

Water is one of the most essential components of life.

It transports food materials and plays many roles in cellular physiology.

In general, a normal adult human being loses about 1500 ml of water every day.

Of the 1500 ml water loss, 600 ml is lost through sweating, 500 ml is lost through urine and 400 ml is lost in exhaled air.

Oxidation of fats and carbohydrates to get 2000 kilocalories of energy produces 300 ml of water in the body.

It is necessary to consume 2 to 3 liters of water every day to keep the body healthy.

Balanced Diet Component: Minerals

minerals - balanced diet

Minerals are extremely important in metabolic activities.

Minerals are classified into macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the minerals that are required in high amounts by our bodies.

Micronutrients are the minerals that are required in lesser quantities by our bodies.

Macronutrients are Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Sulfur, Phosphorus.

Micronutrients are Iron, Iodide, Manganese, Copper, Cobalt, Chromium, Molybdenum, Zinc, Selenium, and Fluoride.

Balanced Diet Component: Macronutrients

Calcium:

Source – Green leafy vegetables, eggs, legumes, nuts, dairy foods, etc.

Function – It helps in nerve and muscle action, helps in clotting blood, etc.

Chloride

Source – Meat, table salt

Function – It helps in maintaining water balance, helps in digestion.

Magnesium

Source – Whole grains, meat, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and bones.

Function – It is required by many enzymes. Magnesium is present in teeth and bones, etc.

Potassium

Source – Meat, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

Function – It helps in maintaining water balance, helps in nerve and muscle action.

Sodium

Source – Dairy foods, nuts, legumes, meat, eggs.

Function – It helps in detoxification of harmful substances, present in proteins and coenzymes.

Phosphorus

Source – Eggs, whole grains, legumes, nuts, meat, dairy foods.

Function – It is present in nucleic acids, helps in bone formation, present in ATP and phospholipids, acts as a buffer, helps in the metabolism of sugars. 

Balanced Diet Component: Micronutrients

Iron

Source – Meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, liver, nuts, etc.

Function – It is present in electron carrier, present in myoglobin, present in hemoglobin, present in the active site of redox enzymes.

Iodide

Source – Iodized salt, shellfish, fish.

Function – It is present in the thyroid hormone and helps the thyroid gland perform its functions.

Manganese

Source – Organ meats, whole grains, coffee, tea, legumes, nuts.

Function – It helps in the production of hemoglobin, in bone formation, present in electron carriers, present in the active site of redox enzymes.

Cobalt

Source – Tap water and meat.

Function – It is present in vitamin B12, helps in the formation of RBC.

Chromium

Source – Meat, whole grains, dried beans, peanuts, dairy foods.

Function – It helps in glucose metabolism.

Molybdenum

Source – Dairy foods, legumes, green leafy vegetables, organic meats, whole grains, etc.

Function – It is required by some enzymes.

Zinc

Source Liver, shellfish, fish.

Function – It is required by some enzymes, involved in proper functioning of insulin.

Selenium

Source – Whole grains, eggs, chicken, milk, garlic, meat, whole grains.

Function – It is involved in the metabolism of lipids.

Fluoride

Source – Water suppliers.

Function – It improves the resistance against tooth decay.

Balanced Diet Component: Vitamins

Vitamins, just like minerals, are required in limited amounts by the body.

Vitamin word was used for the first time in 1912 by Casimir Funk to name the unknown nutrients whose deficiency would cause diseases.

Vitamin meant vital amines as Funk thought that all vitamins are amines.

Thiamine (B1) is the first vitamin to be isolated in pure form. It was isolated in 1926.

Thiamine’s structure was determined in 1936 and the same year, it was synthesized for the very first time.

The work of Funk and Eijkman on birds proved that dietary deficiencies cause diseases.

Before their work, it was thought that microorganisms cause all the diseases.

Vitamins are classified as fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.

Balanced Diet Component: Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Vitamin A – It is also known as Axerophthol, Antiopthalmic vitamin, Retinol, and anti-xeropthalmia vitamin.

It contains compounds that are derived from carotene pigments produced by plants.

By enzymatic hydrolysis, carotene converts into vitamin A.

Source – Fat of milk, in milk products like cream, butter, in eggs, in liver fat (especially shark liver oil, cod liver oil), green leafy vegetables, carrots (don’t contain vitamin A but contains carotene which are precursors of vitamin A).

The daily requirement is 1.5 mg.

Function – It plays an important role in vision, it maintains epithelial cells of the skin, it is involved in carbohydrate and nucleic acid metabolism, it has a role in the electron transport system, synthesis of mucopolysaccharides, it is important for spermatogenesis (the process by which sperm cells are produced), it helps in developing and maintaining placenta.

Deficiency – Deficiency of vitamin A causes xeropthalmia (a disease where lachrymal secretion is inhibited which causes drying of the cornea), changes in skin, growth retardation.

Vitamin D – It is also known as Antirachitic vitamin.

Natural vitamers (vitamers are compounds that are structurally related to vitamins and possess qualities of similar activity) are vitamin D2 (called calciferol, ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

Source – Fish liver oil, in the yolk of an egg, in beef fat and milk.

The daily requirement is 10 μg.

Function – It helps in increasing the absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus from the alimentary canal, increases calcification of bones, prevents and even cures rickets.

Deficiency – Its deficiency causes a decrease in absorption of Calcium which then leads to a fall in blood calcium levels and eventually results in osteomalacia (defect in the formation of the bone).

Vitamin E – It is also known as α-tocopherol vitamin or anti-sterility vitamin.

Vitamin E was discovered in 1936.

The discovery was based on Evans’ experiment who demonstrated that for rats to have a normal reproductive function, a fat-soluble factor present in vegetable oils is necessary.

It was identified later that the factor was tocopherols (of Greek origin, meaning young-bearing).

It was in 1936 that vitamin E was isolated and the name tocopherol was given (tokos meaning childbirth, and phero meaning to bear and ol meaning alcohol).

Source – The wheat germ, oil of vegetable seeds like cotton, soybean, safflower are one of the richest sources of vitamin E. Milk, cheese, butter, meat also have few amounts of tocopherol.

Function – It helps in cardiovascular pathology in lower animals, it contains anti-oxidants to preserve liquid configuration of the cell membranes, it improves the conditions of heart diseases, it is extremely essential for reproductive health. 

However, it must be noted that the exact function of vitamin E is yet to be known.

Deficiency – Its deficiency causes sterility, causes the death of embryos in a few animals, muscular dystrophy, and progressive paralysis in rats.

Deficiency in humans is caused because of defective absorption of lipids and their transport.

However, the human body stores high amounts of vitamin E so the deficiency doesn’t usually occur in months or sometimes in years.

Vitamin K – From 1929 to 1930, Dam observed that chicks suffered from hemorrhagic syndrome who were fed a diet that was low on lipids.

They failed to respond to the then discovered vitamins.

This led to the discovery of vitamin K in 1935 by Dam.

Vitamin K was isolated from fish meal and alfalfa concentrates in 1939.

Source – Green vegetables, alfalfa, soybean oil, orange peel, tomatoes, hemp seed, etc. Vitamin K is synthesized by the bacteria of the human intestine.

Function – It helps in prothrombin synthesis and synthesis of factor VIII, IX, and X (these are proteins with specific roles).

Deficiency – Its deficiency causes obstructive jaundice, diarrhea, hemorrhagic disease of newborn, liver disease, prolonged blood clotting, and serious hemorrhages.

It is to be noted that an adequate amount of bile salts is necessary for the proper absorption of vitamin K.

Balanced Diet Component: Water-soluble vitamins

This group includes vitamin C and vitamin B complex.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C was discovered by Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.

It is a naturally occurring vitamin with anti-oxidant properties.

It is white, crystalline powder and it has no odor.

Vitamin C was isolated in the year 1932 by King and Waugh.

Irwin Stone was the first person to get US patents on vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to be used as a food antioxidant.

In 1959, Burns proposed that biochemical lesions in mammals who are susceptible to scurvy was because they couldn’t synthesize an enzyme which could convert blood glucose to vitamin C.

Humans also can’t produce vitamin C in the body (the liver is the place where vitamin C is produced in the body of other animals).

Because of this, humans develop something called Hypoascorbemia scurvy, an inborn error of the aforesaid conversion.

Humans need to consume vitamin C from other sources so that the person won’t get scurvy.

Scurvy is not a disease but it is a final and fatal stage of Hypoascorbemia scurvy.

Vitamin P or bioflavonoids improve the action of vitamin C and hence, vitamin C and P are to be taken together.

Source – Fresh vegetables and fruits, especially cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, kale, oranges, cresses, lemons, strawberries, limes, parsley, broccoli, human milk (human milk contains more vitamin C than cow’s milk).

It is however absent in dried, preserved and canned foods unless they are processed anaerobically.

Vitamin C is also destroyed by overcooking.

Function – It helps in the hydroxylation (a chemical process for the introduction of a hydroxyl group into an organic compound) of few proteins, improves the body’s resistance to cold, helps in healing of tissues, can kill the virus (has virucidal activity), is effective in treating measles and mumps.

In 1975, Banic reported that vitamin C helps in preventing rabies infection in guinea pigs.

The daily requirement is 45 μg.

A glass of orange juice contains 45 mg of vitamin C.

It is okay if humans consume 500 mg to even 2000 mg of vitamin C (it is suggested sometimes) depending upon stress level and lifestyle.

Vitamin C is not at all toxic, human body disposes of any excess vitamin C that it cannot use.

Deficiency – Deficiency of Vitamin C leads to Scurvy, which can be detected by platelet levels.

Scurvy is a very painful disease of funs and joints and causes degeneration of connective tissues.

Humans, monkeys and guinea pigs are the only three species that can’t produce vitamin C.

Vitamin B-Complex – It is a group of many or multiple water-soluble vitamins, each has different biological roles and has different chemical structure.

They are grouped under Vitamin B because their sources are nearly similar like yeast, liver, milk, egg yolk, green vegetables, etc.

The vitamins of the group vitamin B-complex are:

Thiamine (B1)

Riboflavin (B2)

Niacin

Pyridoxine (B6)

Pantothenic acid

Folic acid

Biotin

Cobalamin

Choline

Thiamine – It is also known as Vitamin B1, Oryzalin, Antineurotic factor, Aneurin, Antiberiberi factor.

Dr. U. Suzuki discovered thiamine in 1910.

Source – Mostly from plants, in the seeds, roots, leaves, stems, fruits, germ and bran (cereals), nuts, milk, beans, egg yolk, liver.

Of all the meats consumed by humans, the richest source of thiamine is pork.

The daily requirement of thiamine is 1.5 mg.

If a person consumes around 0.5 to 1.5 mg of thiamine, then the person excretes around 50 to 250μg of thiamine through urine.

Function – Helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates.

Deficiency – Deficiency of thiamine causes beriberi.

Beriberi is a Singhalese word meaning extreme weakness.

The disease is of 2 types – the first one being dry beriberi where the spinal cord and peripheral nerves are involved (hence also called the neurotic beriberi) and the second one is wet beriberi where the weight of right ventricle increases and the heart gets enlarged and hence it is also called cardiac beriberi.

There is another type of beriberi that affects the brain called cerebral beriberi.

In severe cases, lactic acid and pyruvic acid start accumulating in both heart and liver muscles.

However, if in the early stages of thiamine deficiency if thiamine is administered properly, the disease beriberi can be cured completely.

Riboflavin – It is also known by names like vitamin G or vitamin B2.

Other flavins that occur naturally are lactoflavin, hepatoflavin verdoflavin, and ovoflavin. They are isolated from milk, liver, grass, and egg respectively.

These flavins are structurally similar to riboflavin.

Source – Liver, milk, muscle, kidney, green leafy vegetables, egg, yeast, plants, leaves, wheat germ, fruits, etc.

The occurrence of riboflavin is mostly seen attached to the proteins. Free riboflavin can be found in urine, retina, and milk.

The daily requirement of vitamin B2 is 1.8 mg.

Just like vitamin C, if consumed in excess the body expels it.

Function – Involved in many oxidation-reduction reactions like oxidation of hydrogen to water.

Deficiency – Deficiency of riboflavin affects ectodermal tissues, causes lesions in the eye, nervous system and skin.

The deficiency of riboflavin can be understood by the concentration of riboflavin in red blood corpuscles.

The normal amount of riboflavin present in the blood is 20 μg/dl.

Niacin – It is also known as antipellagra factor, nicotinic acid, anti-black-tongue factor.

Source – Liver, meat, fish, wholegrain flour, cow’s milk, green vegetables, yeast, heart muscle or cardiac muscle.

The daily requirement of niacin is 20 μg.

Function – It is an important component of NADP and NAD coenzymes and helps to fight diseases and conditions like pellagra, blacktongue (in dogs).

Deficiency – Deficiency of niacin causes pellagra and blacktongue (in dogs).

Pyridoxine – It is also known as vitamin B6, antiacrodynia factor, and adermin.

Pyridoxol, a form of pyridoxine was first isolated from liver and yeast in the year 1938 and synthesized in the same year.

The other two forms, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine are seen in natural sources. These three forms are designated as vitamin B6.

Source – Green plants, yeast, seeds, egg yolk, rice polishing, etc.

The daily requirement of pyridoxine is 2 mg.

Function – In helps in proper growth and plays a role in metabolism, maintaining proper nerve and reproductive health. It is also important for the growth of microorganisms, dogs, pigs, mice, infants, etc., transport of metal ions and amino acids across the cell membranes.

Deficiency – Its deficiency causes edema, growth retardation, acrodynia, nerve degeneration and impairs reproductive performance.

Pantothenic acid – It is also known as the filtrate factor and chick antidermatitis factor.

Source – It is present in all living tissues. Liver, rice bran, egg yolk, rice bran, peas, peanuts are excellent sources.

The daily requirement of 5 to 10 mg is required.

Function – It has a role in metabolism and it is a component of coenzyme A and other important enzymes.

Deficiency – Graying of hair, rats can’t produce antibodies and deficiency also causes necrotic lesions on the adrenal cortex.

Folic Acid – Some of the synonyms of folic acid are folacin, anti-anemia factor, pteroylglutamic acid.

It is slightly soluble in water, yellow in color, and tasteless.

Source – Yeast, liver, cowpeas, soybeans, etc.

The daily requirement of folic acid is 400μg. During pregnancy, the daily requirement of folic acid is around 800μg.

Function – It is a growth factor for numerous microbes, helps in metabolism, proper production of RBCs, production of purines, pyrimidines and few amino acids, etc.

Deficiency – Deficiency leads to anemia, leukopenia, necrosis of gums, diarrhea, loss of appetite, etc.

Biotin – It is also known as vitamin H, anti-egg-white injury factor, coenzyme R, and Bios II.

This vitamin was isolated from egg yolk in the year 1936.

Source – Liver, kidney, yeast, cauliflower, milk, peas and found in lesser quantities in almost every food material.

The daily requirement of biotin is 10 μg.

It must be noted that our intestines produce biotin and there may be no requirement of biotin from food sources.

Function – It helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system, for normal lactation, gestation in rats, normal development of embryos of chick, and also plays an important role in metabolism.

Deficiency – Biotin’s deficiency causes dermatitis, loss of fur in animals.

Cobalamin – It is also called vitamin B12.

Source – It is absent in plants. It is present in kidneys, liver, pancreas, fish, and pituitary.

Bovines synthesize this vitamin from fermentation by the microbes present in the alimentary canal.

The daily requirement of cobalamin is 1 to 3 μg.

Function – It is important for normal growth and reproduction, good health, plays a role in the development of RBCs, etc.

Deficiency – Its deficiency causes pernicious anemia.

Choline – Choline, and inositol are sometimes classed under vitamin B-complex.

Source – Animal cells produce choline in small quantities. Other sources are egg yolk, soybean oil, etc.

Function – It helps in the proper functioning of kidneys and liver.

Deficiency – Deficiency leads to hemorrhage in kidneys and deposition of excess fat in the liver.

Balanced Diet Component: Other Vitamins

There are other vitamins as well which are not included in water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins.

The vitamins are Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ), vitamin F, M, P, S, T and U.

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) – It is the newly discovered vitamin in 55 years as confirmed by Takafumi Kato on 24 April 2003.

It is believed that PQQ belongs to the vitamin B group.

Source – Natto, a Japanese dish containing fermented soybeans.

Vitamin F – It contains 2 acids which are Linoleic acid (LA) and Alpha linoleic acid (LNA).

Function – It helps in arthritis, helps in the transmission of the nerve impulses.

Deficiency – Its deficiency leads to learning disabilities, a problem in recalling any information, hair loss, eczema, effects tear glands and behavioral disturbances.

Vitamin L – It contains Anthranilic acid.

Dr. Nakahara isolated 2 factors which are L1 (from the liver of bovine calf) and L2 (from yeast) in the 1930s.

Function – Important for lactation and well being in rats.

Vitamin M – It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is extracted from the apex of female flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa.

Function – Affects nerves.

Vitamin P – It is sometimes called bioflavonoids.

These bioflavonoids occur naturally and improve vitamin C’s action through enhanced absorption of vitamin C.

Dr. Albert Szent Gyorgyi, a Hungarian researcher, called these bioflavonoids vitamin P though they are not vitamins.

Some of the major bioflavonoids are flavones, hesperidin, hesperin, rutin, Quercetin, Quercertin, etc.

Source – Peppers, pine bark, garlic, green tea, onions, grapes, white mesh-like material beneath the peel of citrus, blueberries and red berries.

Function – helps in the treatment of sports injuries, back pain, leg pains, cataract, bleeding gums, treats liver problems, oral herpes, periodontal diseases, prevents bruising and bleeding and preserves the structure of capillaries.

Vitamin S – Its chemical name is acetylsalicylate. It is also known as Salicylate.

Edmund Stone recognized the medicinal properties of vitamin S in 1763.

Vitamin T – It is also known as the Sesame seed factor.

Source – Egg yolk, sesame seeds, hugs, kisses, rubs, cuddles, etc. from closed ones.

Function – Warms heart, nourishes the spirit, has a calming and soothing effect on mind and body, strengthens red blood cells.

It is, however, debatable whether vitamin T exists or not even today.

Some researchers think it to be an act of fiction and they believe that such vitamin doesn’t exist in the first place.

Vitamin U – It is also not considered that it is a vitamin by some.

Source – Raw cabbage

Function – It heals ulcers of the digestive tract and also heals skin ulcers.

Okay, now that we are done with balanced diet and components of balanced diet, let us take a look at the different feeding mechanism, which will mark the end of this lengthy article.

Feeding Mechanisms

There are three broad categories of the feeding mechanism of animals. C.M. Yonge was the one who classified mechanisms of feeding into these 3 categories.

The three categories are:

  • Dealing with small particles
  • Dealing with large particles
  • Dealing with fluids

The food, method of feeding mostly depends on the habitat and the food available in that environment for that particular organism.

Dealing with small particles – Few animals eat small organisms like diatoms, bacteria, flagellates, etc. The predators of these organisms collect food by four different methods like using pseudopodium (false foot), using cilia and flagella for feeding, etc.

Dealing with large particles – Some animals like annelids, arthropods, mollusks, etc. use their jaws, pharynx, to eat these large particles of food.

Dealing with fluid – These animals feed only and only fluid. Some of the classic examples of this category are mosquitoes, ticks, honeybees, butterflies, etc.

That’s all! You are now aware of the basics of nutrition and balanced diet. This long write-up cannot give you everything in extreme details because that is beyond the scope of this article. In case you want to know something from here in details, drop us a message and we shall work on it.